Back in 2001, Dr Glyn Strange, originator and first director of The Christchurch School for Young Writers embarked on a project intended to gather together annually the best writing by young New Zealanders and publish this writing in a handsome volume. To this end, he established the Re-Draft Competition attracting large numbers of writers aged between 13 and 21 from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
The selectors and editors work at breakneck speed to ensure that between September and Christmas the best pieces are chosen, edited, layout completed and cover designed and the book published by Glyn's own imprint Clerestory Press.
I was brought in in time for the second volume working first wtih Alan Bunn, the children's writer, then Tessa Duder for many years and more recently Michelle Elvy to help with selections and editing. Glyn and Francine Bills oversee the whole process.
Today, Re-Draft is a handsome, beautifully produced volume and a fitting showcase for the terrific writing it contains. Glyn calls it a competition in which all who are selected are winners and, given the quality of the selections, there is no doubt this is true. The book is usually about one hundred and fifty pages and features poetry, fiction, essays and, more recently, graphics. There is no set number of contributors aimed at: Re-Draft's philosophy is that all work of outstanding excellence is granted admittance.